Like many people around the world, my life changed dramatically in March. I went from being a relatively migratory person, travelling around the Arctic for work, to being stuck at home.
For a long time, many of us observing Arctic affairs have been using the term Rovaniemi Arctic spirit when we refer to Arctic international co-operation. It aims to capture the sentiment that it is in this region that Arctic states can foster peace and international co-operation, even if there are tensions between their overall relations. This spirit is now in danger, and I will explain why.
Do you still remember how Japan was feared in the West? After World War II until the early 1990’s, the country's economy grew at such a speed that, especially in the United States, there were fears of Japanese economic influence spreading its tentacles to all sectors of the society. Many popular books and manifests were produced to counter the Japanese economic Pearl Harbor.
By simplifying the research of international relations into state-individuals, small and large, we do not promote understanding of the diversity of this system. / Kansainvälisen politiikan tutkimuksen yksinkertaistamisella yksilö-valtioihin, pieniin ja suuriin, emme edistä ymmärrystä järjestelmän monimuotoisuudesta.
I was angry with the media for a long time. Many newspapers and news sites told us that there was a gold rush going on in the Arctic, in my opinion on flimsy grounds.
Climate change exacerbates the weather phenomena around the world in different ways. We get plenty of snow, somewhere else there are more hurricanes. Climate change also seems to exacerbate opinions on what we could do about it.
I participated in various roles in the meetings of the Arctic Council from 19 to 23 March. Many important issues were discussed and debated during the meetings of the Sustainable Development Working Group and the Senior Arctic Officials. . For instance, the eight member states (USA, Russia, Canada and the five Nordic states), indigenous peoples’ organizations (permanent participants) and observers were dealing with the fight against climate change or how to advance the region in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.